Beaches & Boating

The Glen Lake area is known for its crystal clear waters on the Crystal River, Glen Lake and shores of Lake Michigan. Here are some must-visit beaches, places to launch a boat, companies to charter fish or find where to rent boats and equipment.


Boat Launch Sites:

Little Glen Lake – A public boat ramp is located on Day Forest Road, just off M-22 by the Narrows Bridge (motorized/non-motorized).

Big Glen Lake – There is a public ramp for non-motorized boats at Old Settler’s Park in Burdickville.  Otherwise, you may launch your boat at the Little Glen public ramp and drive your boat to Big Glen.

Lake Michigan – Located at the end of Lake Street in Glen Arbor, adjacent to LeBear Resort.  A $5 fee is required (motorized/non-motorized).

If you are interested in canoeing or kayaking in the area, we recommend you launch at one of the public boat ramps. You may also call or email Crystal River Outfitters for more information and pricing on kayak/canoe/SUP rentals.

Charter Boats:

Child charter fishing

Fishing charter trips for all ages and skill levels are available from several local charter companies:

Reel Tales Charters

Finicky Fishing Charters

Mariah Charters

Watta Bite Charter Fishing

Motorized Boat Rentals/Marinas:

Pontoon boats, speed boats, jet skis and more are available for rent from these local businesses:

Glen Craft Marina and Resort

Glen Lake Marine

On the Narrows Marina

Sunset Watersports – rentals and delivery to boat launch sites

Non-motorized Boat Rentals/Trips:

Canoe, kayak, SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) trips and equipment rentals available from:

Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak ~ we are & always have been about free-ride fun!

Crystal River Outfitters (Glen Arbor, MI)

Riverside Canoe Trips (Honor, MI)

Sunset Watersports – rentals and delivery to boat launch sites


Lake Michigan:

Glen Haven – is on Sleeping Bear Bay and offers a combination of stunning beach, incredible views, and a historical museum. The Cannery Boat Museum in Glen Haven is located right on the Lake Michigan beach which looks out at the Manitou Islands and the pilings remaining from the old Glen Haven docks. Where to find it: From Glen Arbor, travel on M-109 towards Glen Haven.  Also enjoy the Glen Haven historic district! Public parking, no fees.

peterson-beach-sleeping bear_top 10 beaches in America

Peterson Beach – Named #6 in the Top 10 beaches to visit in America – has a boardwalk crossing the low dunes from the parking lot to the beach. It’s a quiet stretch of sand with wide vistas of Empire Bluff to the north and Platte River Point to the south. Leashed pets are allowed to the left of the boardwalk when facing the water. Where to find it: Peterson Road is a gravel road that you can take through the woods for about a mile to a small parking area with a restroom. It is located in the southern part of the Park near the intersection of M-22 and Deadstream Road.


Glen Arbor – Located at the end of Lake Street in Glen Arbor, adjacent to the public boat ramp. There is not much space here, so come early!  Please respect the private beach signs, as these areas belong to homeowners.


Port Oneida – Take M-22 North, then turn left on Port Oneida Rd.  Stay left on Lane Rd.  This is usually a quieter, more private beach, but be ready to ascend and descend a steep flight of steps!


County Road 669 Beach – On Good Harbor Bay. Sparkling sand, always aquamarine water, and amazing sunsets over views of Pyramid Point and Whaleback sand dune make this secluded beach a quiet gem. Lake Michigan Rd. parallels the bay for several miles. Follow it east to a pleasant shoreline picnic area and the Good Harbor Bay trail-head (#13). Shalda Creek empties into Lake Michigan to the west of the parking area. Where to find it: Take M-22 Northeast from Glen Arbor, past Port Oneida Historic District and turn Left onto Bohemian road (669). You’ll see Lake Michigan as you approach the parking area. See posted signs for Campfires and having Dogs on the beach here.


Empire – Take M-22 to Empire, then a right on Niagara St.  Follow the signs to the public beach. There is an expansive playground, basketball courts, and lots of beach space.


Esch Beach – aka Otter Creek Beach, is another popular swimming area. This beautiful, tranquil Lake Michigan beach is located at the mouth of Otter Creek. Enjoy walking up the warm and shallow creek bed to see a stunning display of wildflowers and local fauna. Where to find it: Esch Road is located about 3 mile south of Empire on M-22. Turn to the west and follow the road about 1 mile to Lake Michigan. You can park along the road and there are bathroom facilities.


Big and Little Glen:

While there are no public typical “beaches” along the shores of Glen Lake, you may enjoy the following:

Old Settler’s Park + Picnic Area –

Located on CR 675, close to Laker Shakes, La Becasse and Funistrada in Burdickville. Enjoy playground equipment, a gazebo, public restrooms, non-motorized boat launch and dock extended into the shallow waters. For more information on reserving this area for private events, visit the Leelanau County Government website.

Little Glen Picnic Area –

Located off M-109, close to the Dune Climb.  A grassy area with public restrooms, picnic tables and parking on the shores of Little Glen Lake.  You may also launch your kayaks, SUPs or canoes from this area – provided you can carry your watercraft from your car to the shore!

For more information about invasive species and how to protect our lakes, please visit the Glen Lake Association website.